[Update 1/16/2019:] The monetization claim from Disney and Warner Chappell has been removed from the Darth Vader fan film thanks to LucasFilm stepping in to save the day.
[Original article:] YouTuber Star Wars Theory posted a video on January 14th, 2019 about Disney’s music publisher Warner Chappell claiming the monetization on his fan-film starring Darth Vader that was originally published on December 21st, 2018. The 16 minute short film was originally not supposed to be monetized due to the rules that LucasFilm and Disney have in place regarding fan creations, but Disney’s Warner Chappell monetized it anyway.
In the original video that Star Wars Theory posted up, he explains how the fan film was not crowdfunded, and he spent $125,000 in Canadian dollars from his own pocket to make the film. He claims that had he been able to monetize the video, he would have made back that money within the span of two weeks after it garnered more than 6.6 million views.
According to the video, even though he was prohibited from monetizing his fan-film, Disney and Warner Chappell swooped in to monetize his fan creation based on a small snippet of music that he hired a composer to make based on the “Imperial March” from composer John Williams.
In a separate follow-up video posted on January 15th, 2019, Star Wars Theory explains that Disney and Warner Chappell’s legal team responded to his content management agent, explaining that if he attempts to appeal the monetization of his fan-film they will strike his account, and delete the video.
He decided not to pursue legal action against Disney since YouTube content creation is his full-time job and he doesn’t want to risk losing his channel and his livelihood, which has become a very common occurrence for a lot of YouTubers lately, including satirists like Mumkey Jones.
Star Wars Theory wrote in a comment…
“They’ve come in and turned ads on to claim it for themselves.. Fine. So be it. I set out to make a cool film for the fans, free of charge and ad free, and I feel we accomplished that. I thank you all for your support on this, the Star Wars community is really the most powerful and emotional fandom on Earth. I’m not going anywhere…unless they decide to strike me down now, but we all know what happens with the whole striking someone down in anger type of thing…soo…. Let’s move on.”
So basically he’s going to let them monetize his fan-film and still work on Episode 2 of the Darth Vader saga.
This sort of anti-fan sentiment from Disney surely won’t work well in their favor, and only compounds the existing issues that fans have with the company and the way they’ve been handling the Star Wars franchise since getting a hold of it from George Lucas. There’s even a documentary planned to come out in 2020 highlighting and outlining Disney’s attack on the fanbase called Episode Backlash.
If you missed out on the original first episode of the Darth Vader fan film, you can check it out below. There’s no ETA right now on when Star Wars Theory has plans on releasing the second episode.
(Thanks for the news tip Whales)